ORANGE, s. A good example of plausible but entirely incorrect etymology is that of orange from Lat. aurantium. The latter word is in fact an ingenious medieval fabrication. The word doubtless came from the Arab. naranj, which is again a form of Pers. narang, or narangi, the latter being still a common term for the orange in Hindustan. The Persian indeed may be traced to Skt. nagarañga, and narañga, but of these words no satisfactory etymological explanation has been given, and they have perhaps been Sanscritized from some southern term. Sir W. Jones, in his article on the Spikenard of the Ancients, quotes from Dr. Anderson of Madras, “a very curious philological remark, that in the Tamul dictionary, most words beginning with nar have some relation to fragrance; as narukeradu, to yield an odour; nártum pillei, lemon-grass; nártei, citron; nárta manum (read marum), the wild orange-tree; nárum panei, the Indian jasmine; nárum alleri, a strong smelling flower; and nártu, which is put for nard in the Tamul version of our scriptures.” (See As. Res. vol. ii. 414). We have not been able to verify many of these Tamil terms. But it is true that in both Tamil and Malayalam naru is ‘fragrant.’ See, also, on the subject of this article, A. E. Pott, in Lassen’s Zeitschrift f. d. Kunde des Morgenlandes, vii. 114 seqq.

The native country of the orange is believed to be somewhere on the northern border of India. A wild orange, the supposed parent of the cultivated species, both sweet and bitter, occurs in Garhwal and Sikkim, as well as in the Kasia (see COSSYA) country, the valleys of which last are still abundantly productive of excellent oranges. [See Watt, Econ. Dict. ii. 336 seqq.] It is believed that the orange first known and cultivated in Europe was the bitter or Seville orange (see Hanbury and Flückiger, 111-112).

From the Arabic, Byzantine Greek got [Greek Text] nerantzion, the Spaniards naranja, old Italian narancia, the Portuguese laranja, from which last, or some similar form, by the easy detachment of the l (taken probably, as in many other instances, for an article), we have the Ital. arancio, L. Latin aurantium, French orange, the modification of these two being shaped by aurum and or. Indeed, the quotation from Jacques de Vitry possibly indicates that some form like al-arangi may have been current in Syria. Perhaps, however, his phrase ab indigenis nuncupantur may refer only to the Frank or quasi-Frank settlers, in which case we should have among them the birthplace of our word in its present form. The reference to this passage we derived in the first place from Hehn, who gives a most interesting history of the introduction of the various species of citrus into Europe. But we can hardly think he is right in supposing that the Portuguese first brought the sweet orange (Citrus aurantium dulce) into Europe from China, c. 1548. No doubt there may have been a reintroduction of some fine varieties at that time.1 But as early as the beginning of the 14th century we find Abulfeda extolling the fruit of Cintra. His words, as rendered by M. Reinaud, run: “Au nombre des dependances de Lisbonne est la ville de Schintara; à Schintara on recueille des pommes admirables pour la grosseur et le gout” (2442). That these pommes were the famous Cintra oranges can hardly be doubted. For Baber (Autobiog. 328) describes an orange under the name of Sangtarah, which is, indeed, a recognised Persian and Hind. word for a species of the fruit. And this early propagation of the sweet orange in Portugal would account not only for such wide diffusion of the name of Cintra, but for the persistence with which the alternative name of Portugals has adhered to the fruit in question. The familiar name of the large sweet orange in Sicily and Italy is portogallo, and nothing else; in Greece [Greek Text] portogalea, in Albanian protokale, among the Kurds portoghal; whilst even colloquial Arabic has burtukan. The testimony of Mas’udi as to the introduction of the orange into Syria before his time (c. A.D. 930), even if that were (as it would seem) the Seville orange, renders it quite possible that better qualities should have reached Lisbon or been developed there during the Saracenic occupation. It was indeed suggested in our hearing by the late Sir Henry M. Elliot that sangtarah might be interpreted as sang-tar, ‘green stones’ (or in fact ‘moist pips’); but we hardly think he would have started this had the passage in Abulfeda been brought to his notice. [In the Ain (ed. Gladwin, 1800, ii. 20) we read: “Sircar Silhet.…Here grows a delicious fruit called Soontara, in colour like an orange, but of an oblong form.” This passage reads in Col. Jarrett’s translation (ii. 124): “There is a fruit called Súntarah in colour like an orange but large and very sweet.” Col. Jarrett disputes the derivation of Sangtarah from Cintra, and he is followed by Mr. H. Beveridge, who remarks that Humayun calls the fruit Sanatra. Mr. Beveridge is inclined to think that Santra is the Indian hill name of the fruit, of which Sangtarah is a corruption, and refers to a village at the foot of the Bhutan Hills called Santrabari, because it had orange groves.]

A.D. c. 930.—“The same may be said of the orange-tree (Shajr-ul-naranj) and of the round citron, which were brought from India after the year (A.H.) 300, an d first sown in ’Oman. Thence they were transplanted

  By PanEris using Melati.

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